In episode 6, the worlds ended, thanks to Adam’s double apocalypse. In episode 7, we meet the new world. And tie up a few loose ends.
The episode begins with a twist on the opening voice over- a segment from HG Tannhaus’ science show from the 1970s:
Tannhaus: “What is reality? Is it singular in nature? Or do several parallel realities exist at the same time? To address this, Erwin Schrodinger constructed an extremely interesting thought experiment. Schrodinger’s cat. A cat is locked in a steel chamber with a tiny amount of a radioactive substance, a Geiger counter, a vial of poison and a hammer. As soon as a radioactive atom disintegrates inside the steel chamber, the Geiger counter triggers the release of the hammer, which smashes the vial of poison. The cat is dead.
“However, due to the wave characteristics in the quantum world, that atom is indeed disintegrated and intact. Both states are true until our own observation forces it into a definitive state of existence. Until the moment we check and see, we can’t know if the cat’s dead or alive. It exists in two superposed states. The attributes “dead” and “alive” exist simultaneously in the microcosm.
“But what if the simultaneous existence of life and death also applied to the macrocosmic world? Could different realities exist side by side? Could we split time and let it run in two different directions, and, as with the cat, induce a state of death and life simultaneously? And if so, how many different realities could exist side by side?”
Good question- how many realities could exist side by side? Is that the normal state of reality- for many realities to exist side by side, happily coexisting long term without judging each other’s existences, each accepting that sometimes the cat lives, sometimes she dies, and sometimes she chooses to leave the box closed and uncertain forever? That does seem like what the theory predicts, doesn’t it?
In the Prime world 2020, Alt Ex Raincoat Now Emo Martha stands outside of Hannah’s house at the end of S2, just after Adam shoots Prime Martha. Inside, Young Jonas watches his Martha die and promises to make it right. Alt Martha goes inside- or does she? In split screen, one Martha runs into the house, while the other stops when Bartosz appears and yells to her not to go inside, Back to the Future-style. He tells her that Adam doesn’t want to stop the apocalypse and will kill her in the future.
Bartosz says that they’re all doomed because of Jonas/Adam, because everything is his fault.
Of course it is. At least some things are consistent across all of Space-Time.
As the black hole warp bubble forms in the sky, Jonas runs to the basement. Bartosz takes out the time sphere and begs Martha to trust him. He can save her and show her the origin and how everything is connected. Martha and Bartosz poof away just as the shockwave hits.
So good to have Bartosz acting normally again.
Time to note the next twist of the episode- sometimes we are seeing a 3rd world, which I am going to creatively continue to call the 3rd world or Tannhaus’ world. You can tell when it’s this world because widescreen black bars appear at the top and bottom of the picture. And HG Tannhaus appears.
Except in this episode, the jumps between worlds aren’t always marked by any of the normal markers that we’re used to. Make of that what you will- do some of the scenes apply to multiple worlds? Are we seeing Bartosz’s world sometimes? Are we seeing more of Tannhaus’ world than we realize?
Did the most recent surges in time energy fry the system in some way so that the boundaries between worlds are overlapping and more fractured than usual? Maybe the new connections that were made need a while to settle down? Usually, after an event like the end of episode 6, we’d be shown where/when travel has now been opened up to- my guess is that’s why we can see Tannhaus’ world in this episode. The connection to his world has been made or changed. We’d also usually be shown the travelers along with the new places they went, but apparently we’re assuming Martha, Charlotte and Aleksander are dead.
In the Prime world, in 1986 HG told Teen Charlotte that his son, daughter-in-law and infant granddaughter, Charlotte, died when their car went off a bridge in a storm in 1971. Baby Charlotte’s body was never found. That same night, two peculiar women brought him a replacement infant to raise. The “For Charlotte” pocket watch, a Tannhaus family heirloom since the early 19th century, came with her. Teen Charlotte met Peter, who came to town that day and eventually became her husband, on the day HG told her about her past. Both HG and Charlotte were given reasons to stay in town and stay settled when they were told the story of the accident.
In the 3rd world, in 1974, the clock shop looks much more like an inventor’s workshop than usual. HG works on a machine on a table late at night. It’s unclear whether he has Charlotte in this reality. We never see her, but he could be working around her sleep and then later her school hours. In S1, Prime Charlotte found a piece of the time machine chair room’s wall paper in the bunker and recognized it for what it was.
That suggests that on the Prime world, Tannhaus brought her with him to the bunker while he worked at night and the room was originally set up as a bedroom and playroom for her. The ownership of the bunker and cabin is murky, since we’ve been shown that the property also belonged to the Dopplers, especially Helge, during the same period. Bernd Doppler and HG were the same age and may have been friends, sharing ownership of the vacation/hunting cabin between the families.
The ownership of the cabin could be a bootstrap paradox- someone could have changed history. Bernd and Helge are Claudia’s allies, so it would benefit her to pass ownership of the passage to them. Encouraging marriage between Charlotte and Peter also accomplishes that goal.
Or we could have been seeing the cabin and bunker in multiple worlds all along, but it’s only become clear now that the timelines have differentiated more. In the pilot, Jonas’ timeline, Martha’s timeline and Bartosz’s timeline may have been identical. They could be living in entirely different universes by now.
HG glances at his photo of his son and family, then the scene switches to the Winden graveyard and the family’s gravestone. They died on November 8, 1971. Marek was born on March 20, 1947. Sonja was born May 26, 1949. Charlotte’s birthday was May 30, 1971. She was just 5 months old when she died. HG leaves a red knit animal on the grave for Charlotte.
Both Charlotte and Sonja were born just a few weeks before the Summer Solstice, the peak of the light. Marek was born on the Spring Equinox, one of the balance points in the year between light and dark, this one tipped toward light.
In voice over, HG says that it’s hard for humans to accept death and loss. “We long in vain for a way to turn back time. To reverse death.”
“But if time is relative and nothing is really ever in the past, and the simultaneous overlapping of different realities is possible, shouldn’t it then also be possible to bring back something that was believed to be dead long ago and to create a new reality in which the dead live again? If our life is defined as everything between birth and death, it exists there, ad infinitum. Could we succeed in cheating death by finding a way to bring back life, there, between time?”
As he speaks, HG goes to the Doppler cottage and down into the empty bunker. He must own the cottage on this world. He looks around the bunker thoughtfully.
The bolded question is the central question of the series and especially this season. There are several different stories about how time travel began on Dark. They all have to do with bringing someone back from the dead. Generally, the characters’ theories about the knot involve blaming someone who they believe shouldn’t be alive either.
The show’s focus on how guilty characters feel about this or that serves to distract from how alarmingly frequent murder and physical violence have become. When you combine this violence with the way Adam speaks about who deserves Paradise and pay attention to how few characters Eva saves from the apocalypse, it starts to look like a multi world genocide.
Prime world, 2021.
Young Elisabeth and Hanno work to clear the rubble from the passage. It can’t be that long since Hanno finished clearing the passage the first time, in the 1920s, so he has every right to be an angry guy. Adam couldn’t send him to the 1990s for some R&R for a few years first?
Of course not, Adam doesn’t believe in happiness or fun anymore.
They reach one of the Sic Mundus doors, which gives them hope. Later, while they’re relaxing, Elisabeth looks at the For Charlotte watch that Adult Noah gave her. She asks Hanno to tell her about Paradise. He uses sign and speech. “Paradise is free of pain and sorrow. Everything we’ve ever done is forgotten there. Any pain that we’ve ever felt is erased. And all the dead live. Adam will keep his promise. The passageway will open up.”
So cruel of Adam/Jonas to raise all of these kids on the dream of a beautiful world, then take it away from them. Such a timely storyline. Better living through chemistry and physics, y’all, ’til the artificially concentrated and combined chemicals turn into poisons that build up in every system on earth.
Prime world, 1890.
Adam/Stranger Jonas is working in his workshop, wearing a leather suit that looks like a hazmat suit, but of course it isn’t as sturdy. The cesium 137 is placid in its basin until he turns on the electricity. Once it’s been hit enough times, it turns into a blue-black cloud, but it remains unstable.
When Jonas goes to one of the lightning rods to adjust something, he gets struck in the arm by an intense bolt. It gives him a large burn. The energy surge probably would have killed anyone else. He glares at the stone basin where the God particle lives- it’s sentient, so given the way he treats it, it probably is out to get him.
Later, he finds Bartosz staring out the window in the one bedroom in 1888. It’s time for their regular blame Jonas session. Bartosz is angry that Jonas hasn’t reinvented time travel and all of 20th century technology yet, after two whole years in the 19th century. He’s wasting the best years of his life here in the past and he doesn’t think Steampunk is a good look on him at all.
Jonas reiterates that he knows he’ll get the God particle working eventually, because he’s already seen it working in the future-past, but Bartosz continues to be suspicious of his intentions. Jonas explains that he wants to fix everything, not just one event or one person’s problems. He’s the savior, okay? That’s bigger than their love triangle.
Jonas: “If the portal works, then we can use it to find the origin. The one moment that started all of this. And when we’ve found it, we’ll destroy it. And everything that arises from it. That is paradise.”
Bartosz storms out and takes a long walk in the rain. Of course it’s raining. Jonas makes a mental note to do something about this situation in the future, like get Bartosz a girlfriend or a hobby so he’ll quit being such a pain in the butt.
Still in the 1890s.
Silja arrives from the 2050s, wearing Alt Martha’s 1800s outfit. She hides her hazmat suit under some brush. Bartosz comes stomping by, still fuming over Jonas. Silja makes a little noise so that Bartosz will notice her, then comes over to introduce herself.
And Jonas’ Bartosz problem is solved.
I hope that Hanno, Agnes and Silja at least got to pick out which family members they wanted to date before the first cycles in which they were used this way. Because there is no other way to interpret how they are sent to Elisabeth, Doris and Bartosz and the way Agnes was bred with the Unknown. We never see Silja question her path, but Agnes expects Jonas to keep up his side of their deal (plus, she doesn’t stay with either Doris or Unknown). Hanno/Noah openly chafes at the expectations placed on him, and eventually rebels against them, even though he loves Eli.
2023, Prime world.
After 3 years of torture by blue lightning bolts from Jonas and Claudia, the cosmic egg has developed a transparent, protective outer layer, but seems no closer to becoming a time travel portal. Claudia and Jonas give up for the day and rinse the radiation off their hazmat gear in the outer section of the power plant. Jonas is super depressed and ready to quit. Claudia tries to convince him to keep going, because, well, he just has to. Someday, somehow, it just has to work, if they can keep up their team spirit. Jonas tells her he really doesn’t have any team spirit and walks away.
Of course he goes home. He stops in the kitchen for one last look at all of his emotional touchstones- the family portrait, the kitchen table where he last saw Michael, the spot on the floor where Martha died. Then he goes up to Michael’s studio, which has tree branches growing in through the skylight. A sign from his dad, the Sun King- choose life! Jonas looks up at the ceiling beam fondly, then goes about the business of hanging himself.
He doesn’t die. Young Hanno rushes in and cuts him down, sent by either Claudia or Adam. The poor kid has been doing hard labor in the tunnels for years, now he has to live in the barren cave with his child bride, and his savior can’t even be bothered to stay alive. He tells Jonas that he and Adam made Noah and Hanno a promise that the apocalypse had to happen so that everyone would get saved. “You cannot die.”
I think if Jonas died, Hanno would kill him.
He hands Jonas a gun. Jonas holds it to his head and fires. 5 times. Hanno takes the gun back and fires the bullet in the last chamber at the wall. Time and Hanno win this game of Russian roulette.
Hanno explains that Jonas can’t kill himself, because his older self already exists. A force or a person will always intervene. He tells Jonas that he and Elisabeth have found the passage, as ordered by Jonas’ older self. So now it’s up to Jonas to keep the promises made by his older selves.
When Hanno burst into the room, Jonas asked why he was there and if he was following him. After that, Jonas stayed silent. When they’re done with the gun, Hanno brings him to the passage to prove that it’s waiting to be reopened. Jonas stays silent for this as well.
Hanno tells him again that the passage will open up and then Adam will take them to Paradise. Before then, he and Jonas are supposed to become friends, until Hanno is betrayed.
It’s always worded that way- Hanno/Noah will be betrayed and Jonas will be to blame. Jonas is never blamed in the active voice and Hanno never notices. But Hanno is also one of the few who knew Adam well before he met Jonas, so he sees Adam as the real version. Young Jonas is merely the alternate.
Jonas is already tired of the burdens placed on him by people he hasn’t become yet.
And he isn’t even saving for retirement or a mortgage or his kid’s college or keeping up with the maintenance on that poor house so he can pass it down to the Unknown. His eldercare plan for his parents is pretty rough, too.
I’m thinking Jonas’ cosmic egg is also a metaphor for all of those core wounds that get buried deep inside and won’t budge, no matter what you do to heal them. They pop out occasionally as giant black time clouds or nightmares or ex boyfriends. They say that time heals all wounds, but even time can’t heal some damage.
Metamaiden says she assumes that “time heals all wounds” means you’ll die eventually anyway and then your problems will be over.
She was born with this cheery outlook, folks.
But you see- Jonas doesn’t have death to look forward to as an end to his pain, so he keeps zapping that poor time egg. It’s ultimately a circle of torture and self-loathing, punctuated by occasional suicide attempts. He didn’t even hesitate before he pulled the trigger on that gun, 5 times in a row.
In 1904, Silja gives birth to a baby boy. She tells Bartosz she wants to name him Hanno. Bartosz realizes that this innocent newborn baby will grow up to be the killer who brought him into Sic Mundus while posing as a priest and drug dealer.
In the 3rd world, 1974, Tannhaus hangs the photo of his son’s family on the bunker wall, mirroring the way Claudia hung photos on the wall and Martha made the family trees in chalk. The 3rd world mirrors the other two, but things don’t happen in exactly the same way or at the same time.
Tannhaus: “Fate is playing a cruel trick on us. Yet we will always believe there is a way to turn the tide in our favor. If we only want it hard enough. A person is able to pursue any goal, no matter how unattainable it may seem, over the course of an entire lifetime. No resistance, no obstacle is great enough to stop the human will in its tracks… Throughout the ages, isn’t this unquenchable thirst at the heart of any progress that is ever made? No matter what motivates our will, it guides us on our path. We will only be able to let go once we have finally reached our goal.”
As Adult Tannhaus speaks, he spends the 12 years from 1974 to 1986 building a time machine in the bunker. At the same time, he turns into Old Tannhaus. The machine is a large ball with even larger rays sticking out. When he’s done, it looks like a room size version of what’s probably in the sphere.
We saw a similar aging process mirrored with Gustav Tannhaus in the carriage, which had a prophet, the wheels of time and Charlotte’s watch, even if it didn’t technically have a souped up time machine. HG’s new time machine could be seen as a high tech variation on a wheel of time or a cosmic egg as well.
Forward to Prime world, 2040.
17 years have passed in the power plant and Hanno and Jonas have aged into their older selves. Hanno works with Claudia and Jonas on the God particle. At rest, it’s still a white cosmic egg, but when stimulated by enough electricity, it gradually turns black, then becomes the larger cloud that’s a precursor to forming portals. They all look hopeful for a moment as the cloud begins to smooth out into a ball, but it doesn’t hold the formation.
Later that night, Jonas and Hanno stand outside in the dark over a fire. Jonas wonders why the portal isn’t working.
Hanno: “Maybe Claudia doesn’t want it to work.”
(This is correct.)
He asks why Jonas trusts Claudia. Jonas asks why Hanno trusts Adam (Adam raised him). He tells Hanno that Adam’s Paradise is a lie and that he knows the portal will work eventually, because he’s seen it, in the future-future. Everything repeats itself, so this will, too, Jonas is sure that he can do things differently this time though. He and Claudia have changed enough of the components in the passage so that this time, he’ll be able to close it forever when he tries in November 2019, as Stranger Jonas.
Hanno confirms that Claudia told Jonas this. Then he asks what Jonas actually knows about Claudia. “She sometimes disappears for days. How does she know all the things she knows? She said that not all that’s here, should exist here. What did she mean by that? Claudia’s hiding something from us. We can’t trust her. I hope that you know that.”
A very pregnant Elisabeth calls Hanno inside for the night.
Alt Claudia to Prime Claudia: “He still doesn’t suspect anything?”
Prime Claudia: “No, he has no idea that you or the other world exist.”
Alt Claudia: “You must continue to guide him on this path. The matter must not function yet. You keep the knot up in your world, and I’ll keep it in mine.”
Alt Claudia pulls out the sphere, ready to leave. Prime Claudia stop her. She asks how Eva knows what will happen in the future and what instructions to give them. She wonders if Eva knows everything, every future. Has Alt Claudia met her? Alt Claudia asks who she means. Prime Claudia says, “My older self.” Alt Claudia says, “No.”
Prime Claudia: “I still remember exactly what she said. ‘If all this works, then our Regina will live.’ I’ve thought about it all these years. I just can’t believe that what she meant by that was that her suffering would repeat endlessly. There must be a way to untie the knot, without destroying all life in it. A way for Regina to live. Really live. I think neither Eva nor Adam know this path. But I’ll find it. In my world or yours.”
Prime Claudia takes out a gun and shoots Alt Claudia in the forehead. Alt Claudia dies. Prime Claudia becomes the supreme deity on 2 worlds. She picks up her prize, the Golden Time Snitch of Omniscience. Now she can figure out what the multiverse is really all about.
Because they’d never seen an Alt Old Claudia, Prime Claudia assumed she was meant to kill her. Claudias think this way. To be fair, so do Adams and Evas. They are gods, far beyond our mortal ways of thinking about murder and death. They know there’s always another version of the person, somewhere, on some world, and anyway, that person will be born again, next cycle, like nothing ever happened.
Claudia is assuming that at some point she changed the course of the cycles to bend toward favoring her Regina. And if that isn’t the reason Alt Claudia died in past cycles, well, it is now. If you ever think that changes haven’t been occurring over the course of the cycles, go watch S1Ep1 and any S2 episode again. The Windens are all very different places.
And with all the Claudia drama, we skipped right past the confirmation that she’s actively holding back progress on the God particle portal (“The matter must not function yet.”). She doesn’t need to hold Jonas back in 1888. The primitive working conditions do that by themselves. In the 21st century, they can scavenge modern materials. So she’s misdirecting him toward experiments that are ineffective, while she and Eva, and maybe Adam, work on other goals.
Swoop into the Alt world, focus on those darn scorched paintings. This scene takes place after the apocalypse in the Alt world, when Stranger Martha is aging into Eva, so it’s probably about 2040 there as well. Eva’s God particle apparatus is disassembled on the floor, so she probably lost it in the shockwave too and is trying to rebuild it.
The same scenario is being played out on all 3 worlds, in a different way on each world. As promised, no matter what, the three worlds are linked and the same archetypal events repeat between them. Family members die and get lost, going all the way back to the first Charlotte Tannhaus in the early 1800s, creating the desire to change the timeline. Time travel is invented and reinvented, repeatedly, by the same or different people. This is not a one time occurence based on a single sad event.
Tannhaus justifies following his Will with no restrictions by saying that wanting his son back so badly makes it okay. Claudia believes that saving Regina’s life justifies anything she will do for that cause, no matter who else she hurts in the process. Both arguments come back to Bernd’s advice to take what you want, because no one will give it to you. The flip side of that is the assumption that you are owed whatever you want and no one else’s needs or desires matter as much as your own.
When Prime Claudia enters, Stranger Eva asks if her alternate self is coming, too? Claudia says that Noah is watching her, so she couldn’t get away.
Note that she knows he’s suspicious of her and is limiting her movements because of him. When Charlotte disappears, Noah’s mental focus is conveniently removed from Claudia and his physical person is conveniently removed to time periods and locations Adult Claudia mostly stays away from.
Eva rolls up a blueprint for a time travel device and tells Claudia to give it to the other Claudia, who must then give it to Tannhaus to build. She asks if the Claudias understand why everything they’re doing is necessary and everything has to keep repeating. Claudia nods her head yes.
At some point, everyone in Winden will have been designed one of the time travel devices. I’m glad to see Martha get her shot. Does Alt Tannhaus also get blueprints, or does the Alt world go straight from their futuristic God particle portal design to the sphere?
Back in time to 1910. We aren’t shown a switch back to the Prime world, and for the first time all season, we’re shown the outside of Erna’s tavern and boarding house. Either we’re still in the Alt world, or this happened in both worlds. Both worlds, is my guess.
Silja has died in childbirth. A woman tells Hanno that he has to be strong now for his father. Someone holds crying baby Agnes. A crazed looking Bartosz bursts into the room and kneels at Silja’s side. The midwife tells him the baby’s name. He looks overwhelmed.
Forward to 2041.
Under a full moon, Hanno and Elisabeth leave their cabin to bring in the laundry that’s hung outside. Elisabeth asks Hanno to tell her about paradise. As he tells her the same story he told her in the caves in 2020, 2053 Charlotte and Elisabeth sneak into their cabin to kidnap Baby Charlotte. Elisabeth picks up the baby she lost 12 years prior. Charlotte takes the pocket watch.
When Hanno is done with the story, they hug and take the laundry inside, where they discover that Charlotte is missing.
Hanno vs Noah
By telling Elisabeth the story, Hanno keeps her facing away from the cabin during the kidnapping, so she has no idea what happens. But as it’s happening, he seems like he’s upset and trying to control his emotions. From where he’s standing, he should notice the movements of the two women entering and leaving his cabin.
Noah/Hanno tells the Paradise story to Elisabeth twice on camera- just after Peter dies, which he knew was coming but didn’t prevent, and now during Charlotte’s kidnapping. Did he know it was coming and that he had to let it happen? Even though he spends the rest of his life blaming Adam and Claudia?
I think he did know that he had to let it happen, but he blames them because Charlotte is taken as part of their war. Prime Hanno blames Adam/Jonas and Claudia for the whole war and the way it tears the whole family apart, starting with the death of his mother. Silja was born in the 50s. If she hadn’t been time displaced, she probably wouldn’t have died in childbirth.
Before he dies, Bartosz tells his son to ask Adam why he took Hanno back in as an adult, after the apocalypse and after Charlotte was taken, and called him Noah instead of Hanno. The biblical Noah is remembered for saving his own family and two members of every species. Since we are all theoretically descended from those winners, we see it as a victory for the virtuous.
We rarely think about the fact that Bible Noah knew the flood was coming and did nothing to stop everyone but his family from dying. Noah’s immediate family weren’t actually much better than anyone else. It’s more likely that Noah had boat building skills and was in the right place at the right time. But Noah went along with God’s plan and watched everyone die, feeling quite good about himself. In fact, when it’s all over, God makes a backhanded promise to Noah:
“Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”
God promises he won’t send another apocalypse, even though humans are born evil with no hope of ever changing. God has apparently given up on finding good in humanity and is settling for telling people to be fruitful and multiply.
Like so many others, Hanno usually has good intentions overall, but he performs evil acts, such as killing Erik, Yasin and Mads, to attain his goals. In the Dark world, consequences usually catch up with the characters over time, no matter their intentions.
Hanno leaves the cabin and goes straight to Jonas, who’s working in the bunker, and demands to know where Charlotte is. Jonas is taken by surprise as Hanno shoves him up against a wall and nearly chokes him to death. Hanno continues to ask where Charlotte is and whether Jonas or Claudia took her. He says that he finally understands how Jonas betrays their friendship. Before he leaves, he curses Jonas with endless suffering.
Too late. Jonas has been there for a long time. Or is this falling out between best friends the true origin of the timeline split? They’ve been close for 18 years. I think that’s Jonas’ real time record. And their fireside chat showed that they really were very close.
Causality. Such a slippery concept on this show.
Hanno returns to Elisabeth, who looks like her soul has been ripped from her body. She’s fondling Charlotte’s tiny knit cap. He promises to find Charlotte and bring her back. A bit of resolve forms in Elisabeth’s eyes as he gets up to leave, but they both know their life together is over. He picks up the triquetra diary and puts it inside his coat, an offering to help smooth his way back into Adam’s lair after wishing him endless suffering.
Noah/Hanno does find Charlotte after some number of years in his life. We aren’t told how many, though he refers to it as a long time, during their first conversation in the clock shop. When he finds her in 2019, after reading the final pages of the triquetra diary, she’s 49 years old and has already been told by Stranger Jonas that Noah killed Yasin, Erik and Mads. That’s the true betrayal of the Jonas-Hanno friendship. Adam is no longer Hanno’s friend, so I don’t think it matters what he does to Adult Hanno/Noah. Hanno is just waiting for the chance to kill Adam.
It’s Stranger who drives Hanno’s long lost daughter from him by giving her out of context information that benefits Stranger and makes Noah seem like a terrible person who’s only motivated by his cult’s orders and his own sadism. That’s what we all thought about Noah in season 1.
Instead, Noah is a driven man, more like an addict who’ll do anything to get what he needs, which is something Stranger Jonas should understand. For a long time, Jonas mainly takes his pain out on himself and Martha. But even in his more benign forms, he’s coerced into participating in Michael’s death and Mikkel’s kidnapping, which ultimately lead to Ulrich’s confinement and Katharina’s death.
Adam coerces Hanno into becoming a demon just as surely as Claudia leads Jonas to his fate as Adam, heartless mass killer. Hanno can’t simply leave his daughter alone and abandoned in the world. He’s been trained since his mother died to be a caretaker and fixer. The murder of the boys is even mixed up with raising Helge and getting him back to 1954.
Meanwhile, Charlotte is displaced in time in before she’s even born in 2041, since Hanno was born in 1904 and Elisabeth was born in 2011. In addition to her kidnapping to a third time period, she and Elisabeth give birth to each other.
Alt Charlotte was born in 1971, the year HG Tannhaus tells Prime Teen Charlotte his original granddaughter was born. But Noah and Elisabeth still enter the bunker in the Alt world and Charlotte and Elisabeth are still shown giving birth to each other on the Alt world family tree. Is this a clue or a mistake?
If this is real, and isn’t changed within 48 hours of me posting this recap, then it perhaps fits with the theory I’ve had about Charlotte since sometime in S2- I think that when she’s kidnapped as an infant, 3 versions of her are swapped between 3 worlds, not just taken to another time in the same world. If the Charlotte who’s in the Alt world was born in 1971, then she could be the Charlotte either from Tannhaus’ world or Bartosz’s world. Alt Infant Charlotte would have been taken to the Prime world and Prime Infant Charlotte would have gone to the 3rd world.
The Adult Elisabeths and Charlottes (or someone else- we don’t know who ran Marek’s car off the road) would have done this round robin with the infants between the 3 (or 4) worlds to help create or strengthen a connection in time and space- an earlier, less binding version of the Unknown. I can’t explain every detail because of the bootstrap paradoxes involved in Charlotte’s family and HG’s family, but I suspect they are the same family, slightly altered between variations in timelines, time accidents and deliberate tampering.
HG Tannhaus: “A man can do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills. All the paths we take in our lives, every choice we make, is guided by our deepest desires. It’s pointless to fight this sense of want. It determines every one of our actions, no matter how difficult and unimaginable they seem.”
This is a very different sentiment from the one expressed by Prime world HG Tannhaus, who’s said many times that he’s always wanted to travel, but circumstances have required him to stay in the present, running his clock shop.
3rd world, 1986, the bunker.
Tannhaus looks at the family photo on the wall and removes his lab coat. It’s time. He presses keys on a keyboard, fiddles with this and that, then decisively presses the 2 blood red buttons on the wall. The time machine fires up- literally. The center ball is coated in a thin layer of orange flames, with waves of electricity flowing up the arms, but the machine doesn’t seem to be out of control in any way. The music and other sound effects aren’t ominous either.
Prime world, 1911, Tannhaus factory.
Bartosz is in the courtyard working on a car when Hannah and her approximately 4 year old daughter approach, device/apparatus suitcase in hand. Bartosz, who already looks haunted, recognizes that this child is his wife, who’s been dead for about a year. Hannah asks for Jonas. Bartosz warns her that traveling has changed him, but still takes her to see Jonas in his lair.
Jonas is in a transitional stage between Stranger and Adam. He’s in Adam’s uniform and stands staring at the painting. But he still stands tall and straight. Adam will eventually sort of melt into rounded edges and a more socially presentable public persona. This man is still in the midst of the hottest part of the fire.
When he turns around, Hannah is momentarily shocked by the extreme facial scarring. In this time period, his face looks like a skull in ways that will soften later, maybe when he tires of punishing himself. Hannah recovers quickly and introduces his sister to him.
She’s clearly saddened by what she sees, but as a mother who wishes she could have helped spare her child this pain. She touches his cheek and explains that an old woman, Eva, came to her a few days ago and told her that Jonas needed her and where to find him. She promises to be there for him from now on.
Since Jonas doesn’t want to be spared pain, he’s not interested in her compassion and even finds it repulsive. He removes her hand from his cheek with enough menace that Hannah feels it. He finds himself repulsive and probably finds anything connected to him repulsive right now. He tells
Igor Bartosz to take them to the bedroom.
Later that night, once it’s raining, Jonas sneaks into the bedroom. He goes to Silja first, but as he’s carefully folding down her covers, Hannah awakens and asks what he’s doing. He decides it’s Hannah’s turn first and sits on the edge of her bed, as we’ve seen Young Jonas do for sweet mother-son talks.
This is an entirely different situation. He tells Hannah that she and Silja aren’t right here and all of the pieces must be in the correct position. Hannah knows something isn’t right with him, but he’s got her lying down and blocked in. He gently touches her face, calls her Mom one last time, then pulls her pillow out from under her and smothers her to death.
She and Silja are both in white nightgowns. Women should refuse all white garments on this show. It never ends well.
When Jonas is done brutally murdering his mother, he turns to his baby sister and wakes her up, telling her has a secret to show her. He needs her to be quiet so they don’t wake her mom up. He carries her out so that she’s facing back toward Hannah’s body, staring at it the entire way to the door. Hannah very clearly isn’t asleep.
I can Only Salvage So Much from a Bad Situation, Okay?
So. That was sickening and exploitative. There is no good reason to include hints of pedophilia and for Jonas to brutally murder the mother he hasn’t seen in decades. Given the number of characters who commit heinous crimes, such as Helene, and are never caught, and the women who just disappear, such as Greta, there was no reason to bring Hannah back simply to kill her this way.
Though Tannhaus’ last voiceover certainly justifies indulging in any sexual or violent predilection you can come up with, regardless of the other person’s desires. Is that what this show is saying? Anything goes?
The message, if there ever was one, has gotten confused in these last few episodes, as if this show doesn’t know what it’s trying to say anymore. I’m tearing my hair out trying to continue some kind of coherent narrative through line that holds together through the final episode. I finally realized the only way to do it was to give up.
Maybe Claudia has taken the wheel and Hannah had to die out of revenge, because she allowed Ulrich and Katharina to think Regina had turned Ulrich in for rape. That’s a giant stretch though, to the point where I’m writing the show for the creators. And many innocent people who had little to do with Claudia or Regina have died horrible deaths.
I could play the mythology card, and say that Jonas is Hades, the god of the Underworld, who has been collecting young women as his Persephones. Hannah, as the Mother goddess/Demeter, came to look into the situation. Jonas sent her back to another realm, where she wouldn’t interfere with his plans. The myth is sometimes called The Rape of Persephone. In mythology, Demeter mostly wins, though they essentially end with joint custody of Persephone, creating the seasons. Demeter isn’t going to win here.
And there’s only one Persephone, whereas Jonas is collecting everyone’s children for his cult, but mostly girls. Adding a scene where he has a skull face, creeps on a small child in bed at night who’s dressed in white, then kills her mother when he’s caught and carries the little girl off, pretty much solidifies his symbolic nature as a pedophile. At least they only implied the pedophelia itself, rather than showing it.
But this finishes the assassination of both his character and Martha’s character. When we met Martha, she was was on a hunger strike to save starving children. Now she’s procuring women and girls for men who like to murder women and rape little girls?
Yes, the fairy-tale witch imagery has been there all season in Eva’s long black dress. I’d hoped they’d avoid actually going to the stereotype for old women, witches and the biblical Eve, even though they’re obsessed with stamping out original sin. I should have realized that getting rid of the “origin” would involve killing as many mother figures as possible, while turning over little girls to men as child brides.
Because it’s really all Jonas’ mother’s fault, right? She must have done something wrong to make him this way. She must love him too much or too little or embarrass him in front of the other boys. Otherwise he wouldn’t need to live in the basement forever and only have sex twice in his life.
This is an incredibly disappointing direction for this show to take, in so many ways. Beyond misogyny, the philosophy seems to be that people just can’t control themselves and there’s no point in trying.
1920, Erna’s tavern.
Adult Hanno enters the bar, fresh from 2041. The crowd pauses for a moment when the stranger enters. He tells Erna that he’s come a long way and needs someplace to rest. She calls for Young Hanno and tells him to take their guest upstairs to a room.
Adult Hanno goes to see Adam in his lair. Adam has become the older version played by Dietrich Hollinderbäumer. Before Hanno can speak, Adam says that he’s been waiting for Hanno’s visit. He says that Hanno was right about Claudia all along. She was the one who stole Charlotte. Adam says that Hanno needs to find the missing pages from the triquetra diary, with the help of Helge. Then he’ll find Charlotte, his final destination and his Paradise. Adam hands Hanno a bible and says that this will be his last cycle. “Are you ready, Noah?”
Forward to 2052, the bunker.
Old Claudia gives instructions to Stranger Jonas. They’ve finally stabilized the dark matter/Cesium 137. She’s sending Stranger off to November 2019 to lead Young Jonas down the correct path. If he helps everyone he knows complete this cycle in the exact same way they’ve done all the other cycles, for sure change will occur this time.
I have to wonder what she’s been putting in his food for the last few decades.
She hands him Tannhaus’ book, A Journey Through Time and says that the author will repair the apparatus. Once the device is repaired, he can destroy the passage and the knot. It’ll work for sure this time.
Because doing everything exactly the same way always creates the change you’re looking for.
As he’s headed out the door, she tells him not to ever give up hope. Then she tears out the last few pages of the triquetra diary, sticks them in her coat pocket, and leaves.
Now for a brief recap of the series. Stranger goes to Winden in November 2019, when Mikkel and the other boys have gone missing. Noah experiments on the time machine chair, killing 3 boys in the process. Old Claudia gets Gretchen from 1953 and brings her Adult Claudia in 1986, to prove that time travel is real and that she’s really Adult Claudia’s older self.
Both Claudias will abandon Gretchen with Regina in order to pursue time travel and supposedly save Regina. It doesn’t occur to any Claudia, ever, to actually be a mother to her daughter, which is why I question her motives.
Claudia abandons the dog, the daughter, the lover and the father. She kills the daughter and the father and leaves the lover to die in the apocalypse. This is not a woman who will devote eternity or destroy worlds to save someone. This is an obsessed scientist who is devoted to solving a problem and needs an emotional flag to keep her motivated through the tough times.
The writers can retcon the character they created. That’s their prerogative and TV shows do it all the time. But this is the Claudia they created. She doesn’t move heaven and earth for Regina. She moves them for science.
Hey, remember that time that Bartosz decided to get in on the Back to the Future action, so he put on Christopher Lloyd’s duster and went to rescue Martha from getting killed by Adam? I know it was about 9k words and 110 years ago, but I promise you, that did happen. After 3 seasons of Claudia trying to save Regina and Jonas trying to save Prime Martha and Noah trying to save Charlotte and half of Winden trying to save Mikkel, and all of them failing, all the time, plucky little Alt Teen Bartosz jumped in and rescued Alt Teen Martha.
I knew I liked that kid, And his older self, too. In fact, I think he’s the chosen one on the 3rd planet that his Grandma is trying to take out of the system in her obsessive quest to ruin everything for everyone, everytime in everyway. That’s why this episode focused on Bartosz’s story and the story of his son, Hanno/Noah. We’ve already spent quite a bit of time on Bartosz’s granddaughter, Charlotte and her family, for 3 seasons. And Charlotte has known all along that she was important.
This episode is kind of its own little season, focusing on a third world/timeline that’s almost identical to the prime world/timeline, so we’ve switched between them throughout the episode. That’s my theory. Time is so mucked up that apparently even the writers can’t be bothered to sort it out anymore, so here we are. I can’t tell you when we were where, necessarily, just that we jumped around a lot without the normal markers telling us what world we were in.
Also, I think the HG Tannhaus time machine world, which I’ve been calling the 3rd world, is a 4th world, that’s not Bartosz’s world. As I said, Bartosz’s world is so close to Jonas’ and Eva’s that it blends with theirs, so it doesn’t get the widescreen black bars at the top and bottom that HG’s world does. HG’s world/timeline has some significant differences from the other 3, so it looks different on screen. That will be explored more in episode 8.
Okay, so. Our plucky boy hero, Alt Teen Bartosz, convinces Martha to leave Jonas in his house, so he can live in his mom’s basement forever like the loser he is. She goes back to Erit Lux with Bartosz instead.
One poof of awesome gold glitter later, and we’re there. Those paintings are still scorched and I’m sorry, I still can’t spoil how it happens. Truly annoying, I agree. The writing and editing for S3 are meant to f–k you over, but I doubt they meant for it to indecipherable rather than mind blowing. 3 episodes worth of teasing when the paintings burn? Really? And then all of the scorched painting scenes look so alike that it’s nearly impossible to put them in order, though I’m not sure why we would care enough to go back and try, when it’s all said and done. I know I don’t. Somebody didn’t think that one through.
Martha wonders why Bartosz brought her there. He tells her that the Marthas are the only ones who can save them, because they are the Light. Martha realizes she’s in the hands of an Erit Lux true believer, though she has no idea what that means.
You know what? I think it mostly means love. I think Old Claudia impersonated Eva when she brought Hannah to be murdered by Jonas. I’m going to singlehandedly exonerate Martha/Eva of this crime, for my own sanity’s sake, and go on with my life. Readers, you do you and believe whatever you want. I can’t work with a meaningless world. What would be the point? I know they’re going to continue with Eva pushing apocalypses and whatever, but I’m going to believe that she at least loves her little family of followers, even if she doesn’t show it, because I need Martha, or someone, to be a good person in order to continue writing.
And the madness continues, as Eva enters the room. Martha says something nasty to Eva and Eva says they’re more alike than she thinks. Then she gives her version of Adam’s patented “You’ll grow up to be just as bad as your parents” speech, before pulling out a dirty machete and swiping it across Teen Martha’s eye.
She tells Martha that she can’t tell all of the Marthas apart anymore unless they have festering wounds to go by. But Adam is the one who’s trying to kill her. The disfiguring wound is a reminder that things can always get worse. Choosing Jonas/Adam’s side means choosing death, while choosing Eva’s side, which is ultimately her own side, means choosing life.
This is strange reasoning for someone who’s main motivation is protecting her son- if Martha doesn’t choose Jonas sometimes, the Unknown is never born, because this is the version of Martha that brings him to the Alt world.
There’s really no way to spin what Eva’s says into something that makes much sense. They just wanted to squeeze in more mirroring of Adam/Jonas’ scenes.
I can put a meaningful spin on it, but I’m pretty sure this is coming from me, and not the show- in real life, the underlying reason for the slash would be to make Martha unattractive to creepy old men like the ones Jonas becomes. The road to women’s accomplishments is paved with women who fell by the wayside because they couldn’t take the sexual harassment, even rape, from their male colleagues anymore and were driven to quit the male dominated fields they worked in. And the women who got married and pregnant, giving up their careers.
By taking away Martha’s perfect features, she takes away her attractiveness as an innocent young woman to both Stranger and Adam. If they want her, they will have to deal with more than just Young Martha’s pretty face and apparently neither of them are ever inclined to do so. Adam collects other young women instead, until he finds a replacement Young
Martha Eve to torture to death for tempting him into sin.
Yet God and Lucifer both still refuse to take him back.
Unfortunately, Martha/Eva didn’t realize Prime Claudia was also her enemy. As far as I can tell, Alt Claudia was actually working for/with Eva. Prime Claudia is the megalomaniac who took over the universe.
I suspect the creators just wanted to throw in one more senseless, sadistic action against a main character for shock value, plus they needed Martha/Eva to mirror Adam’s disfigurement, but sexism stops them from making her as scarred as Adam.
Time to take the Wayback Machine over to the end of episode 6. Adam has the other Alt Teen Martha dressed in the only rapey white slip he had left after 66 years of kidnapping and torturing women. He’s tied her to some Faye Wray scaffolding under the enhanced God particle. The God particle is turned up to 11 and it’s incredibly excited to finally be turned loose.
Martha’s yelling for mercy and Adam is excited to finally be getting somewhere in his life’s work. He’s pretty sure he’s never used an enhanced God particle to kill the love of his life and his own child inside the womb before. Surely this ultimate human sacrifice will do the trick and Time will finally be satisfied with him.
A portal opens up above Martha’s head. Then the God particle finally escapes its enslavement, mercifully taking Martha and her unborn child with it. Time has always had a fondness for her.
The cloud and the woman disappear. Jonas assumes they’re dead, because he has so few brain cells left.
I sincerely hope that Martha is in a world outside the Dark universe, with better writing and no white slips. Women actually die in the clothes we’re wearing- we don’t change our clothes when we find out murder is on the schedule, or keep a special victim dress on hand for the occasion. I f–king loathe the sight of those things. “Time to die or be abused, little girl. Here’s your pseudo-virgin gown to remind you that you’re ultimately powerless.”
Where is the corresponding male attire? Wait, it would be the all black priest or judge or vigilante’s outfit used to condemn women and criminals. Similar to what Adam is wearing. There isn’t a male outfit that symbolizes victimhood.
Jonas waits to disappear, too, but he doesn’t. He’s dumbfounded. Life is so unfair. Why does Martha get to die, but he doesn’t?
I wouldn’t mind if he eviscerated himself to see if it would stick.
A moment later, the door to the control room creaks open and his other nemesis, Old Claudia, who Noah killed on his orders almost a century ago in chronological time, walks in.
I’ll give her credit for knowing how to make an entrance.
The God particle has literally never killed anyone on this show, much as Jonas has clearly tried to get it to kill him. The dark matter/Cesium 137/cloud/goo/cosmic egg transforms, it doesn’t just cease to exist. In fact, nothing in the universe ever just ceases to exist. Everything either transforms or transfers to a new location. That’s basic physics. In this case, there’s nothing left behind, so it goes somewhere else.
If Dark is following its own rules, then Time took Martha somewhere, probably to Bartosz’s world. It would make sense for this to be a way to create a new connection through time and space, maybe connecting the 3 worlds together. But we’re in the Endgame and the rules no longer apply.
If they ever did. It’s retcon time.
Next episode, we visit the Biff World of Claudia’s mind. Don’t look her directly in the eye and don’t take your hand off your valuables. Actually, that sojourn in the
Old West 19th century was probably more fun than anyone realized at the time, even without antibiotics, since there was nothing Claudia or Biff wanted there.
Too bad Adult Bartosz wasn’t able to get the car he was fixing to fly- or was he???? Maybe there’s a world where instead of showing Hannah to her room, he grabbed her, Noah, Silja and Agnes and drove away as far and as fast as he could. Parts of early 20th century Northern Africa seem nice. Or maybe they took the God particle forward 50 years, then went to live in the south of France.
Wait. I just realized. Bartosz is in the Harry Potter world. He’s Mad Eye Moody! Constant Vigilance!
Kill the Origin or Find Another Timeline?
I bolded the first half of HG’s speech from the graveyard because it fits both his point of view and that of his protege, Jonas, who spends 66 years trying to go back to the origin point and bring back something that’s lost, whether it’s Mikkel or Martha. For HG, it’s Marek, Sonja and Baby Charlotte. But the second half of the speech is equally important:
“If our life is defined as everything between birth and death, it exists there, ad infinitum. Could we succeed in cheating death by finding a way to bring back life, there, between time?”
The episode takes its name from the bolded phrase, between time. The 3rd world is formally introduced in this episode. The 3rd world is the Time/Eternal Recurrence that is between the other two Times/Eternal Recurrences that we’ve been watching. What HG is really saying is, in this multiverse full of infinite possibilities, could he find another timeline where things worked out differently for his family? Could he jump to that timeline and live happily there? Or is he hoping to meld the two timelines- bring that Marek and Sonja home to this timeline? It’s not clear.
This is echoed in Stranger Jonas’ speech from S2Ep1, explaining that he is both infinite as part of the multiverse, but also finite as himself, the single soul known as Jonas:
“You could say that I exist infinitely. I’m here now. And I exist for every second between my birth and my death. I’m always Jonas. I’m the same as I was and yet not the same. Just as you’re not the same person who came through that door about an hour ago.”
No matter where or when he goes, what he does, or what he looks like, he’s still Jonas. At first, Hannah still wants the Jonas who left a few months ago, but she quickly accepts Stranger as her son, just as she accepted the proto Adam she met in this episode. In S2 Stranger was grateful for her acceptance, then, in a supreme act of hypocrisy, rejected her when he learned she’d cheated on his father one time before Michael’s death.
The next time they meet, in this episode, he murders her, either because she’s served her purpose in his plans or because she’s kind to him at a time when retaining his strength requires removing all human warmth from his life.
He is still Jonas, but he’s changed everything about himself, from his looks and dress to his demeanor to his home time period and way of thinking. He is no longer trying to save his loved ones. He is now trying to find the origin moment and destroy it. He’s redefined saving as destroying and convinced himself that saving himself saves everyone else. Maybe when he finds the origin moment and changes it, it will set both him and the God particle free from their enslavement. He is now enslaved to a life he can’t bear to live.
Gustav taught him a prophecy of a Paradise that was a dream filled with beauty and light, the Heaven or Ascension of so many religions. Jonas turned it into darkness as an absence of light, where he would remove the cancer that caused his pain (in the form of the God particle, which is the true knot) and kill the patient (himself) at the same time.
In his scenes with Hannah in this episode, Jonas’ true state is laid bare. During the time between 1890-1920, he is a 4th Jonas, Lord Death, with his facial scars meant to look like a skull.
In other words, maybe he’s made some sort of Ghost Rider deal with the God particle, but there are no flaming skulls involved. Just a pact to get out of this world together. That would explain the way they are bound. No one else seems to share quite the same relationship that he does with the God particle, Time and Death, not even Martha.
Martha, the Unknown and the God particle are his family. They all disappear at once and the other 3 versions of the Unknown presumably die in the nuclear meltdown. Unknown has time to save himself if he wants to, but he told us he was about to die. Anyway, after Jonas sent everyone else who was with him in 2053 to the past, it must be devastating for him to watch Martha and the God particle leave him behind and alive while they get raptured together.
He’s in a heartbroken, confused state when Claudia appears to tell him another story.
Images courtesy of Netflix.